Doctor on heat stroke: ‘Your body starts to cook from the inside’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When exposed to excessive heat the body’s temperature-regulating mechanism fails.

This can result is a life-threatening illness called heat stroke. 

News 8 spoke with Dr. Tyler Stepsis, chief of emergency medicine at Eskenazi Health, about the condition.

“A person all of a sudden can’t regulate their body temperature anymore and that usually happens when the body temperature gets to about 104 degrees,” he said. “For the most part, that’s signified by acute confusion. You just don’t know where you are or you can’t answer questions. You don’t sweat, which is another thing. One of the body’s ways of regulating heat is to sweat to help evaporate that water off of your body, and, after that, your body basically starts to cook from the inside.”

Stepsis says heat stroke can result in organ failure. The heart, kidneys and lungs can all shut down because it’s too hot for them to function. In severe cases, the brain swells resulting in a coma or even death. 

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite the fact that all heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, each year an average of 650 people die from extreme heat.